Living Room Update

You know when the best time to update your living room is?  When you’re 39 weeks pregnant, working full time, and cannot stand looking at it any longer.  Was that your answer too?  No?  Just me?  Okay then. I might be taking nesting to another level… or others might do this too, but they have more sense than to blog about it.  Earlier on in my pregnancy, we re-did our master bathroom.  It’s still not finished though so it’s not on the blog because I cannot for the life of me decide what to do with the wall behind the mirror.  Maybe I should blog about it so it can be finished and checked off my list.  We also planned out our master bedroom and completed it.

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IKEA FULLEN Sink Cabinet Hack

I’m sharing the absolute best DIY deal ever today.  Let me introduce the IKEA FULLEN sink cabinet to you…

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For only $9.99 you can get this bottom cabinet and turn it into a credenza/ fauxdenza (if you will).  I’ve been searching for inexpensive bottom cabinets to create storage for future toys, baby items, etc.  Now, at first glance this little guy doesn’t look all that glamorous, but we can make it better!

IDEAS:

  1. The legs are a problem.  They look cheap to me, but they can be painted or replaced!  Amazon even sells replacement legs for Ikea furniture.  I’d personally splurge on some wooden or hairpin legs, but they have some bright, fun ones too!

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2. The pulls also cheapen it, but that is an easy fix!  Some DIY leather pulls made from thrifted belts could be cute or inexpensive brass pulls, like the ones I used in my kitchen makeover.

3.  It’s obviously meant to be a sink cabinet so it will need a top.  I’d love to see a DIY waterfall wooden countertop.

4. Similar to how I turned my cheap, laminate kitchen cabinets into shaker cabinets, you could also paint these and add wood give them more character, as seen here.

I purchased 3 of these cabinets this morning, and they were too easy to put together.  I’m 39 weeks pregnant and was able to put two of them together before my husband realized what I was doing and ran in to put together the last one.  I’ll share my finished piece with you in a future post since I’m updating my entire living room, but I had to share this deal immediately.  After researching a variety of options, including a few thrifted pieces, this was by far the best deal for adding storage on a budget.

Planning for a DIY Murphy Bed

I previously wrote about some of my nursery plans, and the real issue is a lack of space. I wanted to fit a daybed (for guests), a dresser, and a mini crib in my tiny space, and it’s just too tiny. A sweet friend that is also expecting recommended that I consider DIYing a Murphy bed, which is what she and her husband are doing. They are much, much handier than me, but I HAVE built furniture in the past… so I’m feeling semi-optimistic about this idea (probably naively so). I start out all of my potential plans with a lot of research, so I looked for a few pictures of what I hoped to accomplish. I’d like a horizontal folding twin Murphy bed with either a bookcase above it or shelving.

 

In my head, I’m thinking that it could also be a great toddler bed (that wouldn’t even need to be made).  I could fold it down for naps and bedtime and put it back up so there is room on the floor to play.  Ana White has one plan for a twin Murphy bed, but I’m also considering buying a kit (which is a little pricier) and designing my own cabinet for it.

We’re Expecting… a Baby (Nursery Planning)

Back in January, we got some of the happiest news of our lives.  We’re expecting a baby!  In our 8.5 years of marriage, we have had some wonderful adventures, but we’re sure that this journey will be our favorite.  Also, it’s a GIRL! I was certain it was a boy, so I had boy names picked out and a fabulous boy nursery planned in my head (and on my Pinterest board).  I had set aside a toy sailboat that was my husband’s as a boy and had big plans to turn it into something for the nursery.  I could still do all of that for a girl too, but we all know how much I love pink (like my pink dining room).  Is it faux pas to do a pink nursery nowadays? I have 3 extra gallons of a beautiful blush color, and I’d love to use it up!

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The decor is not really the main issue though.  It’s the space.  We live in a two bedroom condo, and the second bedroom is the size of a closet.  It barely fits a twin bed and a dresser.  Now, I need it to do double duty as a nursery and a guest room.  It needs to fit a crib, a twin bed (for guests), and a dresser with a changing pad on top.  Here’s the room that will be the nursery/ guest room.  We sold off the furniture that is in these pictures to make room for NURSERY furniture!

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Since it’s a tiny room, I know I want to paint the majority of it white (Chantilly Lace by Benjamin Moore is my favorite white).  However, I also want it to be a fun space that will grow with our little one.  I decided it would be fun to paint the ceiling a fun, unexpected color.  The room has “chair molding” near the ceiling (Is it even called chair molding when it’s that high?), so I want to extend the color down the ceiling to the top of the “chair molding”.  I think it will give the appearance of a higher ceiling.  Here are some example of others that have done this:

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White Bedroom with a Lime Green Ceiling

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As far as furniture, we had to buy a crib (CHECK), dresser (CHECK), and a new daybed frame (still looking).  I purchased a crib YEARS ago in preparation of future babies.  As soon as we found out we were expecting, we excitedly pulled it from storage and put it together.  It was too big for the room!!!  It was just a standard sized crib, and we realized we would have to go a different route.  Luckily, I found this mini crib on Craigslist for a steep discount and the sweet (CLEAN) family also gave me a waterproof mattress (and cover) and a few extra sets of organic sheets for it.  Have I ever mentioned that I meet the nicest people on Craigslist?  That sounds bad… I only buy furniture on Craigslist. I also found a Campaign-style dresser and nightstand at a local thrift store (for only $30) and painted them white.  I am still looking for a petite daybed frame that is budget friendly, sturdy enough to survive a future toddler, and that can fit a trundle underneath it.

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My thrift store scores!  They’re white now.

I’ve never had a strong vision or dream of how I wanted to decorate a future nursery.  I know our little one won’t really care what the space looks like for several years, so I want it to be a place in which I enjoy spending time.  I also want it to grow with our little girl and feel sophisticated AND fun.  Easy, right?  I threw together a few mood boards to gather my ideas.  They each have pros and cons, and none of them will be THE end product.  I love thrifting and always seem to find “treasures” that throw off my original ideas.

Idea #1: The Primary (Color) Palace

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I currently own this colorful Persian rug.  It has gold, bright blue, dark blue, red, pale pink, emerald green, and pretty much every other color in it.  It’s FUN!  In this idea, I would paint the ceiling a bold blue and keep the rest of the room rather white (including the crib, crib sheets, dresser, metal daybed, AND daybed bedding).  That white pillow in the bottom corner has tiny gold polka dots on it and would be the daybed bedding.  I would have pops of many colors throughout the room, like the pale pink hamper.  I love how cheerful and bright this room is, and I’m hoping that the amount of white in the room would keep it from being too busy.  I know a lot of people dislike white bedding for kids.  My husband and I have white bedding and white sheets.  We love that it’s easy to bleach, whereas other colors can be trickier for us to remove stains.

Idea #2: The Pretty in Pink Room

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This idea would mean we would sell our Persian rug and purchase this overdyed rug instead.  The rest of the room is identical to the one above, except that the ceiling would be painted a subtle blush tone.  The room would have pops of different tones of pink.  The cat art “might” be a thing, but it also might not.  I’m still deciding what to put in the frames in this room, but who doesn’t love portraits of cats?  This room is much simpler in color scheme, but I worry that it might be a little too “girly.”  I’m a girl, but even I tire of things that feel too sweet.

Idea #3: The Tenacious Turk

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This room is probably a mix of the top two: less color than the Primary (Color) Palace but just as sweet as the Pretty in Pink Room.  The base of the room would stay the same, although the ceiling would get a coat of a happy aqua color.  I would exchange our current Persian rug out for this Turkish rug that has pops of green, mauve, white, aqua, navy, and rust.  The room would have hints of pink and aqua.

Decisions, Decisions.  Do you have any favorites or additional ideas?

Lake House Mood Boards

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My house is absolutely turned UPSIDE DOWN.  I started a bedroom makeover, which still isn’t finished since I’m looking for the perfect art and accessories.  Of course, the bedroom makeover rolled into a master bathroom renovation.  Then, there are several little things that take A LOT of time that are in the midst of being accomplished, like changing out the doors in the entire house since the mini-flood we had actually warped a few doorways.  So what better way to accomplish so much than procrastination… in the form of decor mood boards.

My parents recently purchased a lake house in the midwest.  It’s a cute, little place with fabulous bones, but it needs a lot of work.  I won’t show before pictures (they’re terrifying), but my mom has great taste so I know the home will come together beautifully.  She wanted a “boho” look that felt peaceful and fun, so I whipped up a few mood boards.

The lake house is TINY so every piece of furniture must be functional.  As much as I want to put in a hanging egg chair and rattan pieces, I know that the couch must be able to sleep guests and be easily cleanable for young children.  My dad also requested a comfortable side chair that was all his.  Also, they are renovating the kitchen to something similar to the embedded “kitchen inspo” picture (white cabinets, butcher block counters, open shelving).  The walls will be white planking.

I sent my mom about 10 of these mood boards, and I won’t show the items that she actually picked… yet.  Here are a few of the favorites though.

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Master Bedroom Plans

We moved into our home over a year ago, and we’ve barely touched the master bedroom.  We’ve basically stuck our furniture in it and called it a day with the exception of painting some thrifted and hand-me-down furniture.  Anyway, the not-so-recent recent flooding situation in our home meant that flooring was pulled up, the subfloor was replaced in places, and the trim was replaced.  In our bedroom, the trim is painted the same color as the rest of the room, and since we had to replace the trim we has an opportunity to repaint the room, as well.  Here are some of the images that inspired our design.

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The black trim trend is very tempting…

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…although light, bright spaces always pull me in.

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I love the bright traditional rug with the modern art.

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We decided to add a dark board and batten focal wall.

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The painting is done in our bedroom, but since we enjoy the look of a “collected room” it will take some time before we find all of the pieces that pull it together.  We’re still looking for the right bedding, art, and headboard.

Design Trend: African Baskets

I am so lucky to live in a diverse area with hundreds of different nationalities represented in the general population.  I’m even luckier that our thrift stores are filled with beautiful treasures from all of these different nationalities.  Over the past few years, I’ve been slowly finding and buying a small collection of African baskets.  I don’t see them often,  but I’m obsessed with them!  I specifically collect the Bukedo and Rwenzori baskets from Uganda.  They are the perfect shape and size to hang on the wall!

Here is some dreamy basket inspiration:

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My tiny little collection is in my bathroom since they hold up well in humid conditions.  I use another one to hold my soap and hand towel on the countertop.

 

If your area isn’t filled with international treasures, no worries!  You can order these baskets from Baskets of Africa (a Fair Trade company).  Even Target got on the trend and made a basket wall hanging.

 

Updating Vintage Furniture: Round 2

I’ve written before about how to update vintage furniture.  I absolutely LOVE buying vintage, thrifted furniture, but I always mix it with modern decor or update it to keep it from looking too stale.  Lately, I’ve been really into block-painting furniture.  It used to be HUGE when people were dipping the legs of vintage furniture in color to modernize it.

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Lately, I’ve noticed more people sectioning off an area of their furniture and painting it one color.

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Over a year ago, I purchased a midcentury nightstand from a local thrift store for $8.  The top of it was in bad condition, but I was hoping that a good scrub and possibly some sanding would remedy the situation.  Fast forward to now, this little guy has been sitting in my living looking rather sad and stained.


I decided to tape out a modern design that covers the stains but allows the rest of the beautiful wood to shine.  I absolutely love how modern it looks now.

 

 

 

How We Remodeled Our Kitchen for Less Than $600

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This is the INCREDIBLY condensed version of my kitchen renovation.  You can read more about it in depth here, here, here, and here.

Meet my kitchen the day we moved in: white laminate cabinets from the 1970s (covered in brown and black grease… this picture was HEAVILY photoshopped), silver wire cabinet pulls, nice stainless steel appliances, and a honed black granite countertop (which I like a lot. It’s the cheaper version of my favorite countertop material, soapstone).

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BEFORE VIEW


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BEFORE VIEW

Initially, I just spray painted the silver pulls in a brushed gold color so it matched the rest of my decor and added a Persian rug that I already owned.

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Progress 1

I thought about covering the white laminate cabinets with a brushed gold metal contact paper, but I decided to quiet the Liberace-loving side of me and do something more subtle…so I painted the walls pink and the backsplash black to match the countertops.  Suddenly, the room was MUCH, MUCH worse.  EPIC FAIL.  I’m not proud of this moment.

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I think I went crazy after that fail, so I ripped the cabinet doors off, framed them out, and painted them.  If you decide to do this, buy A LOT of wood filler.  Every nook and cranny of the cabinets were covered in wood filler before priming with 1-2-3 Primer (best primer ever) and painted.  img_2973

I was going to paint the cabinets with normal colors.  I promise.  I wanted a two-toned kitchen, and I had every intention of choosing calm, neutral colors.  However, my Liberace-loving side of me spoke up while I was purchasing paint in the store.  There was no one with me to shush it up, and I made a last minute decision to purchase…

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The BRIGHT Green Cabinets

Emerald Green Milk Paint.  Initially after applying the first coat, I asked myself, ‘WHY DON’T YOU CHOOSE NORMAL COLORS LIKE A NORMAL PERSON?!”  A normal person would choose all white or some grey perhaps.  


Then, I remembered I have never decorated anything like a normal person.  Exhibit A. After adding a bit of grey and blue paint to the emerald green, I ended up liking the hue a bit more.  


Here is what it looked like after I painted the kitchen bright white, rehung the doors, and installed a new faucet that I got for my birthday.  MUCH BETTER!

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I ordered cabinet pulls on CLEARANCE from Amerock, but I had to wait for a month before they arrived.  While I waited, I realized that the backsplash would look lovely with an inexpensive subway tile.  I ripped out the mini granite backsplash and got to work.  Here is the final result (not at all staged and taken with a low quality camera because I was too lazy to get out my nice camera).  Oh, and I have ONE MORE outlet faceplate to install.

The door (to the right in the picture below) leads to a tiny closet that holds my washer, dryer, and a tiny pantry for my dry goods.  It also has a wall of shelves that I built myself during the last big blizzard in DC.  All of that trim and the door need painted, but I’m holding off since we might need to rip out all of our trim and flooring in the house.  You can read about that drama here.  

Here’s the view of the kitchen looking out into my pink dining room.  I clearly have an affinity for bright, happy colors.  My Liberace-loving side of me picked out the gold chandelier in the dining room.

Eventually, I’d love to have this little wall (to the left) removed or perhaps turned into a half wall.  The kitchen doesn’t receive a lot of natural sunlight with it in place.  For now, it holds our mail organizer, which probably needs cleaned out right now.

Now, for the most important part: THE BUDGET

2.5″ Lattice Trim (to trim out the laminate cabinets): $82

Elmer’s Wood Filler: $9

Zinnser’s 1-2-3 Primer: Already Owned

General Finishes Milk Paint (Snow White & Emerald Green): $36

Amerock Cabinet Pulls in Champagne Bronze (2-1.25″, 15- 3.125″): $39.14

2 Boxes of Subway Tile: $50

Grout in Oyster Gray: $15

Sanded Caulk in Oyster Gray (2 containers): $16

Behr White Paint: already owned

All tiling tools (tile cutter, spacers, float, etc) were borrowed from a friend for FREE

TOTAL PRICE: $247.14

*The Delta faucet and soap dispenser were birthday gifts.  My husband got the faucet used on Amazon to save some money, but the total cost was $308.67 (more than the rest of the kitchen makeover).  

TOTAL PRICE (including the faucet and soap dispenser): $555.81

Here’s the before and after ONE MORE TIME, so you can see how far that money went.

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KITCHEN BEFORE (without photoshopping to make it look bright and spacious)


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KITCHEN AFTER

We’re really enjoying how much brighter it feels.  It’s amazing how some paint and lattice trim can make cheap laminate cabinets look expensive!  I’m also glad I went with a “punchier” color than I had originally planned.  Now, I’m considering wallpapering the white walls in a black and white buffalo print or leaving it be until we figure out the flooring situation.  Regardless, we’re very happy with the choices we’ve made in this little kitchen so far.  I hope you enjoyed it!